Interview: Amonwan Mirpuri

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Amonwan Mirpuri is an artist whose work challenges the conceptual relationship between human experience, mind, body and the soul.

A renowned contemporary Thai-Indian artist who is known for expressing her art through symbolism, Amonwan Mirpuri’s work is a mix of media art, paintings and sculptures leans towards the abstract and is based on the premise that time is an illusion and that we are all in a state of constant motion. Her new show ‘Dear Women’ at Method Art Space at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai is a tribute to all women who have either been abused, suppressed or have been victims of assault. She tells us more in this exclusive tête-à-tête.

Tell us something of your early days, education and how you were growing up.

I grew up with a Thai mother and an Indian father making the household rich in culture and tradition. At the same time, attending an international school hanging out with friends from around the world also imprinted a westernized culture in me. My art mostly is self-taught from research and experiment. I grew up having a rough childhood, tackling issues throughout my teenage years and adolescence I believe people can relate to. I think that is why I choose and am so passionate about the subject of consciousness, the human psyche and evolution, trauma and societal conditioning/issues. Having first-hand experience of abuse and making peace with it, I am now using it as a stepping stone to growth, tool for healing, a platform for voice and a bridge in connecting this art to people and their stories in the hopes of it being healing for them too.

What drew you towards art?

As a human being and as a woman, I feel there is a natural movement to speak and be about human beings, about women and the way we function in society and vice versa. We all have different purposes in life in carrying out a calling, whatever that maybe and I think art is my calling to carry out a purpose.

What kind of materials do you use in your art works?

I work intuitively with art and so I am always introducing new mediums to the work process. Right now I am working with oil, acrylic, graphite, charcoal, Plaster of Paris and resin. I feel as a creative person, there is no limitation to the tools, the mediums, or channels you use to convey your expression. Whatever your vision calls you to do, the medium used to manifest that vision will be your choice of material and that way you keep growing because the learning never stops.

What are the messages you convey through your art?

More than a message it is an invitation to look at one self and how we are interacting with the world with the beliefs that has been brought down to us. It is to also question and inquire the beliefs we have taken down upon ourselves, question what we have learned and question ourselves. Healthy people make healthy relationships. Healthy people make a healthy society. It is a process of unlearning everything you are not to arrive at what you already are. And that process can only be experienced independently to anyone who does the work.

Art by Amonwan Mirpuri
Art by Amonwan Mirpuri

How challenging is to create mix media works?

The challenging part is probably to remove yourself and your mind from the process of creating. Working intuitively requires you to act as a vessel for something bigger than you to come through. It is quite a humbling experience and where I feel is the same source all intuitive creatives create from. To address the insecurities that come up, the fear, the doubt and then from a space of openness, allow the creative process to happen, allow the intuition, the movement from within to come through.And to get to a movement of creating for the sake of creation, it is to address all that comes in between and create from a purer space, for the experience of it.

Who or what inspires you?

The journey to ourselves and everything in between is what inspires me. The break, the fall, the buildup, what we are as energy, as an identity, as a collective, what we revolve around and the experiences that mould us is where I gather my inspiration. I work a lot around the concept of energy, states of consciousness, and the human psyche.

Tell us about your show “Dear Women”.

Dear Women portrays the four stages of trauma women go through as a direct result of an abusive experiences relating to harassment, rape, domestic violence and any other related forms of abuse. Although the concept is revolved around women, it is not limited because on a vast scale, everybody has experienced trauma in some form or another. We all go through the same cycle of breaking apart, putting ourselves back together, struggling to find that place where we belong, tackling with our own mental struggle, and even find a place in society where it is accepting for us to be undeniably ourselves. The purpose for this exhibition is to break the norms society has brought down to us in forms of society beliefs, cultural beliefs and knowledge that are doing more harm than good.

How is art being perceived in India?

Art in India has been a very powerful expression of the state of the country and the people. With the protests of the NRC and the CAA that has been going on, art has served as a platform in voicing the things that matter. Especially in today’s world where there is less censorship in the art world provokes awareness and sparks conversation.

Your future plans?

I would love to take Dear Women on a tour to different countries because I think this is an important conversation to have. To continue to forgive, to heal, to love, to transmute pain to power, and to speak from a conscious space of vulnerability as only true change can happen from that space.

This story first appeared in The New Indian Express dated Feb 9, 2020 here:

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